It is well-known that even the best theory is useless without practice. And the aim pursued by Simcon, the eminent manufacturer of simulation software, is for the simulation results it provides to reflect the practical reality of the injection moulding process in an optimum manner.
Simcon in Würselen has a particularly well-equipped pilot plant for practically-relevant development and automatic process optimisation. The work carried out in the pilot plant is highly varied and includes the measurement of viscosity curves in a capillary rheometre as well as injection moulding tests. Simcon has PVT data, thermal conductivity, thermal capacity, modulus of elasticity, shear modulus, CLTE values and, where appropriate, crosslinking data, measured by its partners. The Arburg injection moulding machine employed is equipped with both AQC from Arburg and Varimos Real and can be used to run test plans as well as to monitor and document the injection tests in their entirety for subsequent evaluation. The best results are ensured through two different injection variants, six different wall thicknesses and a range of injection processes.
To validate and optimise the predictions of shrinkage and warpage, Simcon makes use of a purpose-built Isoform mould, developed in cooperation with the Hein design company. The box-shaped parts, which make an unspectacular first impression, can be injected both lengthwise and crosswise. Rapidly exchangeable mould halves are also available for producing six thickness variants. A comprehensive test plan is then run, employing different process settings determined by Varimos Real. The parts produced are measured and the results evaluated with Varimos Real. The results obtained during the tests are used to validate the predictions of shrinkage and warpage for the material under investigation. In this way, the software manufacturer can calibrate the material data contained in the database for the plastic that has been processed, employing a method optimised in the Matopt research project conducted jointly with the IKV, Aachen. This will then produce optimum and hence practically relevant results for shrinkage, for example.